Faith, life, Stories from Scripture
Comment 1

{wisdom} A Deeper Well Than Wit

Abigail knew a thing or two about pickles and jams. Not the edible variety, mind you, more along the dilemma lines.

Abigail lived on the corner of Quandary and Predicament.

Living in a patriarchal society and married to a man of proven weak character with an even greater weakness for alcohol, Abigail had to use her wits often.

But the story of Abigail reveals that wits or common sense or strategy can only take a girl so far. There are problems, great and small, that demand a deeper well than wit — they require wisdom.

Wisdom is both a gift and a blessing of accrual and dispensation, meaning we can collect truth and guidance from scripture and apply it in the same spirit of love that that truth was given. Wisdom is not merely obeying the commandments. Jesus rebuked the hypocrisy of the temple teachers of his day because they followed the law to the merest letter, but the spirit was all wrong. Instead of humility and mercy, they acted out of pride. They pursued perfectionism not service. The teachers of the law may have had pristine records of tithing but they were not wise in Jesus’ estimation because they acted outside of the spirit of the law.

Biblical wisdom serves to protect, to pave pathways and preserve. Abigail’s story, found in 1 Samuel 25, takes place at sheep-sheering time.

Abigail’s husband, Nabal, was a rich and neglectful man. His name meant “fool” and the biblical account of his actions reveal that he was foolishness personified. He had handed over all the responsibilities of his property to his employees while he threw a huge feast, “like a king” the Bible says. I’ll err in reading between the lines to say that Nabal may have been rich, but he was foolish in his feasting, perhaps living beyond his means.

Nabal and Abigail lived in the same region of an actual king, David. David’s servants were in the area and asked Nabal for food in exchange for the protection they could offer his servants and shepherds. This was a culturally acceptable concept and Nabal, had he been thinking at all, would have treated the king’s servants with lavish generosity, out of respect for his monarch and to help secure a favorable position with a man of power.

But Nabal wasn’t thinking. Perhaps you’ve heard of navel-gazers, people who keep their heads hung low and think only of themselves. Nabal-gazing is a similar problem.

Nabal self-indulged to the point that he was very rude to the king’s servants; he cast them away, insulted them and was so self-absorbed he failed to recognize that he had brought certain retribution onto himself.

The young King David was a man of action, and reaction. He was going to teach this ungrateful and spiteful man a lesson. Just as David was vowing to leave not one man standing in all of Nabal’s household, Abigail appeared out of the desert with loads of food and a sincere and well-planned speech.

Abigail’s servants looked to her for help and she literally saved the day. She did the right thing in the right spirit.

Abigail’s story reminds me of The Prize-Winner of Defiance, Ohio (first a book then a movie). Julianne Moore played Evelyn Ryan, a woman who had an incredible mind and managed to support her family from winning poetry and jingle contests (popular in the middle of last century).

As the book/movie develops we begin to see that it isn’t ¬†intelligence but her spirit that keeps her winning, keeps her optimistic in spite of living in great hardship with a violent alcoholic who cannot provide for his family. As his addiction progresses, his foolish decisions threaten his family and their security. Evelyn Ryan relies not only on her intelligence, but her wisdom. She maintains a positive outlook, encourages her children to pursue their dreams and models forgiveness and grace over decades of marital disappointment.

Are you an Abigail or an Evelyn Ryan? When trouble squeezes and predicaments puzzle, do you react, retreat or approach a solution with wisdom? Did you know that good counsel is always available to you, free for the asking?

Wisdom is a free gift to anyone who will receive it.

Christians receive access to boundless wisdom from our soure of wisdom, Jesus. Through the power of the spirit of Christ, we may “have the full riches of complete understanding in order …to know the mystery of God, namely Christ in who are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” {Colossians 2:2-3}

Wisdom marks our lives with grace and peace (not problem free, however) because unlimited wisdom is at our disposal.

2Peter 1:3 tells us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cased by evil desires.”

Wisdom is a gift that God gives because he is all wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 If you’re in a predicament and options look limited, ask God. He will deliver wisdom on the wings of faith.

Wisdom is God’s character that he imparts to his children.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17






1 Comment

  1. Hi Alyssa – wow, great post. Very thought provoking. I like to think of myself as practical but I’m not sure how I’d react in their circumstances. Thank you for linking up with me for Winsome Wednesday. I hope you do so again. I also wanted to tell you that I am praying for your fractures and healing for your bones.
    God bless

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